You are viewing an archived version of HEAL Africa. - To view the current site, click here

HEAL Africa provides holistic care for the people of Democratic Republic of Congo
Home »

Credit and Income Generation at HEAL Africa November 2010

We are in the season of Thanksgiving and celebrations of Life. What would your life look like if you had been born in Congo? The Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently ranked the poorest country in the world and is rated fourth worst in the world for poor health (country rankings). Healthcare challenges can't be solved without addressing poverty. See the Christian Science Monitor article from last week on HEAL Africa's micro-finance programs.

HEAL Africa's approach toincome generation is creating options to build healthy lives and communities in places where little opportunity exists. In 2001 HEAL Africa began its attempts with micro-credit training and loans in Goma among poor women. There have been many variations since then, as the programs have adapted to the unique environment of Eastern DR Congo.

In addition to the measurable results of a successful program, HEAL Africa has started to see a host of positive outcomes that were not anticipated. It starts with the mother who begins a successful small business with a micro-loan she receives. She is able to provide proper nutrition to her children as they grow, she's able to keep them in school, their health improves as a result of better nutrition and access to timely healthcare makes her better able to care for her family and run her business. Because she's part of a solidarity group of women like her, she knows she's not alone. And that's just the beginning. After she pays off the first loan, she becomes eligible for another. The group meets monthly and pays into the fund. The money is rotated around, so an infusion of capital is possible from within the group. No outside money is now needed. A kind of independence is achieved. The children grow up in households with strong successful women. This is a huge incentive to succeed in business. There's a visible difference in the women, too. They are more confident, better dressed, and more capable of speaking out and participating in the changes around them.

Read more about the exciting ways HEAL Africa's micro-finance programs are changing lives and improving health outcomes for families and individuals in communities throughout the region.

It doesn't take much, but it does take people on the ground to teach, encourage, support. It does take start-up costs. In Goma, a group received a $3,000 grant which provided training and start-up grants for 50 women. There are now 68 women in their group. They continue to save, and build their businesses. I visited them in Goma this year; they now rent a warehouse to keep their products in. They can buy more at a time, and make a higher profit. This makes good sense, and their lives-and those of their children-are changed. Helping HEAL Africa is a long-term investment in the futures of many in Congo. Will you consider changing the game for a woman like this in Congo today?

Thank you for your support of HEAL Africa - we depend on you.

Peace to you,

Judy Anderson
Executive Director